When a business is planning a brand activation launch, there are a number of factors that come into play. In order to reach a broad audience and further their brand awareness, many companies decide to partner up with another business, leveraging that relationship during the course of their brand activation to create a win/win situation. Creating multiple partnerships can better a business’s chances of a widespread and advantageous brand activation.
By Ray Sheehan, Founder — Old City Media
Businesses may wonder how to forge these relationships and leverage them during brand activation to get the most benefit out of the partnership. Here are some tips that should help brands choose the right partnerships, build up those relationships, and leverage them to have the most successful brand activation possible.
Start with research
Any worthwhile partnership should begin with a good amount of research to find the best match. You need to identify who you are looking to partner with and why they would make the best partnership for your brand launch.
The best partnerships depend on your goals, your industry, your company’s culture, and your target market. It’s important that the company views and vision of the partners align well in order to get the best results from the partnership. Some examples of non-competing businesses with similar markets may be luxury car brands partnering with a luxury clothing brand or a restaurant partnering with a music streaming service.
With this in mind, seek out partnerships with non-competing businesses that have products or services with target markets similar to your own. Marketing and brand launches can link the two products or services together, illustrating to the market why both are necessary and should be considered.
As mentioned, it is imperative that your business goals align with the goals of your partner, or the partnership may not be ultimately successful. When meeting with potential partners, compare your organization’s mission statements, company culture, and goals with those of the partners you have in mind. Companies will be more willing to be open to collaboration if their mission and company values are well aligned with your own.
Transparency in communication is key to thriving partnerships. Communication at the beginning is crucial to making sure those goals are reached, as miscommunication on outcome goals can often make partnerships that were initially friendly turn sour.
Any partnership undertaken should provide value for both parties, meaning the relationship should go both ways and be mutually beneficial in terms of expanded brand recognition and increased revenue. The partners that you choose should provide value to your brand. A one-sided partnership is certain to fail in the long run because the other side of the partnership will not derive any value from the relationship.
Partners on both sides can illustrate the value that they bring to the table through means such as co-branded content, the data on the customers that they bring in, or the pure monetary value they provide to their partner. Perhaps one side of the partnership is growing faster than the other and can help propel the slower-growing partner to a wider market and greater growth.
Having multiple partners can serve to bring even more value and create better brand recognition overall. Consider forming partnerships that can create a feeling of goodwill around your brand, such as charity partnerships.
Take into account all of the stores and restaurants that regularly partner with charities and source donations from shoppers. This strategy aligns their brand with a strong social cause and endears them to consumers.
Additional partners do not necessarily have to have a charity component — they can simply be a business that adds value and makes sense in terms of aligned values and brand goals.
Relationships formed with other brands should feel like they grow organically — you needn’t force a partnership that doesn’t make sense or when goals and values diverge. The partnerships should feel like they make sense from the outset, and continue to grow and thrive as the brands are activated. Through organic engagement across social media platforms, B2C advertising, and other marketing streams, the partnerships can both grow their brands in a way that does not feel forced.
Through initial communication, all partners should know what their strengths are, and how they can help one another with any weaknesses they may have. Open communication can ensure that these strengths are leveraged in an organic way, and that the relationships continue to grow and remain beneficial for all.
Consumers can tell when something is being forced or is inauthentic in any way — especially in today’s digital age where many of us maintain parasocial relationships with brands and influencers online. When forging partnerships, all parties need to keep the consumer consciousness in mind and not force something that isn’t there naturally.
Forging long-lasting, mutually advantageous partnerships can be one of the best, most effective ways of brand activation. There’s a popular saying in business that a “Rising tide lifts all boats”, and this is a great illustration of the benefit of multiple partnerships — the rising tide of partnership support lifting all brands toward recognition and success.